How do you write a story made to be erased? To be counted only once, to be never repeated. Words with a lifetime, self-annihilating, capable of erasing paragraphs as they are read. How is passing architecture built, an ephemeral construction, a space to vacate and, at best, occupy a place only in memory?
Baja California is a state of constant flowing, border of uncertain migrations, the very last corner of the global south, southern neighbor of a fierce power.
There ́s a flow of migrants from the south wanting to cross the border into California. Here the equation is simple: Some succeed, others don ́t. While in opposite sense, the garbage of United States goes down as by gravitational act until, in most cases, successfully crosses into Mexico; Borderless debris that finds a place in different ways in the everyday landscape.
It is common then, to find in the built environment, a large number of houses and settlements of a "temporary" nature, product of the meeting of both migratory directions; "What goes up and what goes down", "what goes and what comes".
Now, if we add to the equation the occasional appearance of old mobile homes from the United States restored in Mexico, we have as result a phenomenon that makes sense from its own complexity: Temporary settlements, within reach of a truck that hooks them and drags them and make them migrate towards a better landscape, a better version of themselves, a better projection into the future, creating temporal landscapes, a temporality that, most of the time, is the most permanent to which we can aspire.
Casa Elías is the prelude to a project to come. A temporary cabin with a simple program: To house the owners and developers of the future project since they are not originally from the state. But above all it fulfills an extra-function by way of a decree that no one asked for: to intimately and inevitably relate the developers to the site and its context, to be more than a house, a station to observe and investigate landscape.
Valle de Guadalupe, in Baja California, is the area of the most real estate speculation in the State, and architecture, even if it is temporary, has the capacity to give answers and consciously alleviate that voracious inertia.
It is architecture to understand a site, to give perspective; and landing on the ground correctly is essential to such goals. The highest point of one of the three hills that make the project area was chosen and to make an elevated structure on stilts to grant breadth to the views, in addition to leaving the land almost intact so as not to intervene as an obstacle in future plans.
Being a temporary house, it was necessary to design a project that made sense from its functionality, but more importantly, from its symbolic context. A house with an old classroom of the same origin as the mobile homes was built. Assembled and prefabricated structures. The classrooms are made up of two sections equivalent to a mobile home, which to be transported must be separated into two parts and then reassembled on site. On this occasion the sections were not joined again in parallel but at a ninety-degree angle so that each one had its own orientation and generated a terrace of contemplation between the two bodies. By nature, one of the faces of each section is an open core, it does not have a wall since it is willing to match an equal structure and generate a clear space without internal walls. These wall less faces, exposed by the angular opening, were covered with a batch of second-use doors and windows, also from United States. Some vertically, others horizontally, like puzzles that take shape in juxtaposition, without cutting any, even protruding from the level of the rooms. Those old windows and doors that rise above the ceiling are, due to their orientation, the shade that makes the terrace habitable, the shelter from the sun that makes architecture dynamic.
There are projects that blend in with the environment, which study its nature with its shapes, colors and textures. There are projects that are hidden, that speak of sensitivity from the ground. Absolutely rising up and touching only what is necessary on the site is an act of respect towards the land, but also perhaps a slight attack on the landscape in the eyes of those who observe. There are projects, then, that are sustained from their meaning, from their close relationship with contextual phenomena, be it the migratory temporality or the rolling aesthetics coming from another country that is dissolving naturally in the daily panorama. Immigrant architecture, like birds, impermanent. A place to be lost in the geometry of memory, designed to be forgotten, where to be, is simply not to disappear. Thus one day suddenly, the structure, sister of sparrows and satellites, will disappear along with a sunset and a bird will disclose its departure. Prelude way of inhabiting deserts, where a house rises and leaves in our souls the hymn of what once was.